At loggerheads with Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has met President Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister Rajnath Singh and told them that she was making it difficult for him to run the government and was “blocking all files” related to welfare schemes. He sought their intervention and it is learnt that the Home Minister has promised to resolve the matter in a few days.
Narayanasamy has also sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of the situation. Talking to The Indian Express, the Chief Minister said the Lt Governor is “trying to dictate terms to our government which we will not allow”. The Chief Minister, however, did not seek her removal. “Why should I? It is for them to take a call. I have apprised them of the situation and the state of affairs,” he said.
“Day-to-day administration is the job of the elected government. The Lt Governor has to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers. She wants us to act on her aid and advice. That is the difficulty,” he said. “All government decisions, all popular schemes that we had promised in our election manifesto. she is not allowing us to implement. She want publicity. She does everything for publicity,” he added.
The grievances of the Chief Minister are many: he said the Lt Governor has “raised several queries and returned the file” on starting of air services between Puducherry and Hyderabad by SpiceJet under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme; “blocked” waiver of cooperative loans to drought-hit farmers and stalled the Cabinet decision of “viability gap funding for free education up to post-graduate level to Scheduled Caste students”.
He said the air service between Puducherry and Hyderabad was to start in the first week of July, “but is now stuck”. “Then, dredging for a fishing harbour. we wanted an open tender. But the Lt Governor wanted it to be given on a single tender to the Dredging Corporation of India. She is interfering even in tender,” he said.
“There is a drought situation in Puducherry. We wanted to waive cooperative loans to the farmers, but the Lt Governor is blocking it. The matter is under the state government. Initially, she said we don’t have the powers. Then we said cooperative loan is within the purview of the state government and the law department has given its opinion. Then she said, you waive bank loans also. We said it is not under the purview of the state government and it is with the Government of India. Now she has sent the letter to the Home Minister for waiver of the loan. So far, no decision has come and farmers are suffering,” he said.
On PG courses in medicine, the Chief Minister said the Lt Governor blamed “our government that we surrendered seats to private management”. “It was totally false. And she (alleged) corruption. I challenge her to prove that we surrendered seats to private management and there was corruption. She has not replied to it so far. We did it in a transparent manner. Everything was online. We strictly followed the system given by the Government of India which was acknowledged by the Union Health Minister,” he said.
Asked about Bedi’s claim that his government was obstructing her from carrying out her duties, he said, “What duty is she doing that I am obstructing? What work does the Lt Governor have to carry out? It is the elected government that has to function… She is trying to dictate terms to our government which we will not allow.”
“She wants to go to constituencies without informing the MLAs, ministers concerned, she wants to issue orders. When there is an instruction, it has to go through the minister and CM. She cannot run a parallel government,” he said.